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What are the top animation training programs in Europe?
|National Film and Television School
|Trazos School of Digital Arts
|Animum Creativity Advanced School
|FX Animation Barcelona 3D & Film School
|The Game Assembly
|Universal Arts School
|Escola de Cinema de Barcelona
Our 2022 rankings of the top animation training programs in Europe. For this ranking we only consider professional training programs, that is, non-degree programs such as certificate, diploma, and similar programs that are not formal 4-year bachelor's degrees. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Founded in 1991, Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (Filmakademie or FABW) is home to the Animation Institute. Established in 2002, the Institute trains students in Animation, VFX, Technical Editing, Animation/Effects Producing, and Interactive Media. Students in all programs enjoy benefits such as a project-based curriculum, hands-on training, collaborations with local and international partners, scientific research and development, and guest speakers.
Courses at the FABW Animation Institute are taught and mentored by more than 300 experts from the film and media industries. In collaboration with instructor mentors, Filmakademie student teams produce at least 250 films each year. Many of these student films win prizes at the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards and SIGGRAPH.
An annual high point at FABW is the FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Transmedia, which the Animation Institute has hosted since 1994. This English-language non-profit event is Europe’s most influential conference on the creation, production and distribution of digital entertainment, and brings major players from the industries to Stuttgart every spring.
Graduates of the Animation Programs at Filmakademie have established successful careers at studios in Germany and abroad. Many program alumni have launched their own studios and freelance businesses.
2. National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield – Buckinghamshire, England
Launched in 1971 as The National Film School, National Film and Television School (NFTS) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and the 2018 BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema. Serving hundreds of students, NFTS has more than 30 Certificate, Diploma, and MA programs and short programs in multiple areas of games, film, and television. Additional specialized programs include Directing, Cinematography, Production Accounting, and Script Supervision.
The only UK film school with its own in-house television and film studios, NFTS has several programs for animators. Options include an MA in Directing Animation, a Full-Time Diploma in Model Making for Animation, a Certificate in Character Animation provided in partnership with Aardman Studios, and a three-week online Storyboarding for Animators Program.
Students in all NFTS programs benefit from workshops, instructors that work at major studios, Student showcases, animation guests such as Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls), and Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast), and partnerships with BBC, Prime Video, the Film Distributors Association, ITV, The National Lottery, and the UK Cinema Association.
Across programs, students will study 2D and 3D animation, stop-motion, life-size pixilation, Storyboard Pro, 3D printing, puppet making, painting and detailing, animation principles, character posing, and storyboarding for animated TV series: storyboarding, pitching, revisioning.
Graduates of the Animation Programs at National Film and Television School enjoy 80%+ employment rate. Program alumni have worked on productions such as the recent Wes Anderson Isle of Dogs feature film, and at studios such as Aardman Features, Factory Create, Traveller’s Tales, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish, Animortal, and Blink Ink.
3. Trazos School of Digital Arts, Madrid, Spain
Trazos School of Digital Arts (Trazos) has been training students in the Technology, Digital Art, and New Media areas for more than 25 years. Programs at Trazos are focused solely on producing artists who have the experience and skills needed to enter the industry immediately. To date, the school has more than 10,000 graduates who are all professionals in their respective fields. Examples of companies that have hired Trazos graduates include Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Y&R, ReasonWhy, Sanitas, Volkswagen, Adecco, and Accenture.
Trazos School of Digital Arts also has short programs for working professionals looking to enhance their skills. Zbrush and Advanced Zbrush are just a few options. For animators, Trazos has Masters Programs (Diploma) and courses in Animation, Advanced Animation, 3D and Animation, 3D with Autodesk Maya, Advanced 3D with Autodesk Maya, 2D Animation with Toon Boom, 3D and VFX with Maya and Houdini, Design and 2D Animation with Toon Boom, Design and Creation of Characters, Race in 3D with Autodesk Maya, Motion Graphics and 2D Animation with Toon Boom, Race in 3D and Animation with Autodesk Maya, and Illustration, 3D, and Animation. Motion Graphics and 2D Animation with Toon Boom, Race in 3D and Animation with Autodesk Maya, and Illustration, 3D and Animation. Programs range from 300 to 1,800 hours.
Students in all Trazos programs benefit from partnerships with Apple, Pixologic, Adobe, Autodesk, and Maxon, and access to personal studio spaces and state-of-the-art facilities that function like a real professional studio. Students in all Diploma programs will have the opportunity to produce a number of animated productions, including a Final Diploma Project.
4. Animum Creativity Advanced School, Malaga, Spain
Animum Creativity Advanced School (Animum) provides programs for students seeking careers in game design, animation, VFX, film and video, and other areas in the entertainment industry. Launched more than a decade ago, Animum has a number of animation programs for artists interested in taking a single course to those seeking a longer program, such as the Animum Master.
Options include the Digital Drawing and 2D Animation Master (560 hours), Animation of 3D Characters Master (18 months), the Master Concept of Characters (15 months), Animation for Video Games Advanced Program (nine Months), Explode Your Reel – Character Animation (three-month Advanced Workshop), Cartoon Animation (three-month Program), and Fundamentals of Animation (course, 30 hours).
Graduates of the Animation Programs at Animum Creativity Advanced School have the opportunity to promote their professional portfolios or reels to major studios, companies, and agencies locally and around the world.
Animum alumni have established careers at animation studios, game design companies, VFX studios, creative firms, and motion graphics production studios, among others. With locations in Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai, Chicago, London, Vancouver, Melbourne, and Montreal, Framestore (Animation & VFX) frequently hires Animum graduates. Illumination MacGuff (Paris), which produces animated films, is another top studio for graduates of the Animation Programs at Animum.
5. FX Animation Barcelona 3D & Film School, Barcelona, Spain
FX Animation Barcelona 3D & Film School (FX Animation) provides a four-year Specialized Studies Program in Character and Creature Animation, and a Higher Master in 3D Character Animation. Features across programs include internship opportunities, small class sizes (up to 15 students), and the opportunity to complete an industry-ready animated film. FX Animation students have interned at studios such as B-Water Animation Studios, Digital Legends, El Ranchito, The Game Forge, Deluxe, Scarecrow Studio, Music Has No Limits, and Entropy Studio.
Students in the Character and Creature Animation Program will master Autodesk Maya, Mudbox, MotionBuilder, Autodesk Sketchbook, and Zbrush, among others. Module examples for the program include CGI, FXExperience, 3D Advanced Character Animation, Animation Film Production, Realistic Animal Animation, and Fantastic Creatures Animation. Students will also complete two Animation Short Production modules. The program culminates with the Final Animation Project.
The Higher Master in Character and Creature Animation may be completed online or on-campus. Students in this program will master Maya, Mudbox, TVPaint, Autodesk Sketchbook, and MotionBuilder, among others. The program explores everything from the 12 principles of animation to advanced animation of creatures. The FX Animation Higher Master is the only Master’s at the national level to offer a specialization in the animation of creatures, quadrupeds, and bipeds.
All FX Animation students benefit from the school’s relationship with technology partners such as Fuji Film, HP, ASUS, The Rookies, Wacom, 22 Barcelona, and SenoraX Productions, and intense training in industry-standard software and other tools such as Houdini, LightWave, Nuke, Maya, Avid, Cara VR, Pro Tools, RailClone, Adobe Premier Pro, V-Ray, Adobe After Effects, DaVinci, Mari, SynthEyes, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, and Forest Pack. All FX Animation students also have access to state-of-the-art production equipment and studios.
Established in 2007, FX Animation - Barcelona 3D & Film School has a near perfect 99% job placement rate, with graduates working at well over 800 companies in Europe and around the world. FX Animation alumni work in areas such as TV, film, games, and advertising.
6. The Game Assembly, Malmo, Sweden
The Game Assembly (TGA) is one of the few schools that provides the opportunity to spend a third of any given program in the workplace. Founded in 2008, this polytechnic school also features partnerships with gaming local gaming studios, small class sizes, courses taught by professionals who are active in the industry, and the opportunity to collaborate with students across programs.
The TGA Game Animator Diploma is an immersive program that focuses on 3D. The program also covers the 12 Animation Principles, along with Autodesk maya and Motion Builder. Students will have the opportunity to develop a total of eight games both individually and in teams from concept to playable game.
The Game Animator Diploma Program at The Game Assembly takes 2.5 years to complete, full-time.
7. Universal Arts School, Valencia, Spain
The Character Animation Program at Universal Arts School (UA) has several pathways for animators seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree. The Character Animation Bachelor’s Degree has 14 Specializations. Examples include Videogame Art and Character Animation, Concept Art and Character Animation, Videogame Art and VFX, Matte Painting and Character Animation, and Digital Film and Concept Art. Students in the program will be prepared for senior level positions in four years.
Students who would like to work in more than one professional area can add a Specialty such as 3D Art, Character Animation for Cinema or Character Animator for Videogames. Dual Specialty Options take five years to complete.
At the graduate level, UA has Master’s and Dual Master’s Degree Programs. The Master’s Degree has two options—Character Animation and Rigging with Maya. Students in the Dual Master’s have eight Specialization options. Examples include Character Animation and Illustration Concept Art, Character Animation and VFX with Houdini, Rigging 3D with Maya and Character Animation, and Animation and Digital Film. Students in this program may choose two Specialty areas. Both the Master’s and Dual Master’s take two years to complete.
Established in 1994, UA has two campuses in Valencia, Spain and one in Hollywood, California. All programs can be completed at either campus or entirely online. Features across programs include access to more than 200 mentors, internship opportunities, the Start-Up component, which helps students develop skills to start their own business, and access to nearly 100 speakers and collaborators from game and film studios.
The Universal Arts School Character Animation Programs culminate with a final project and professional demo reel. UA graduates have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, Blizzard Entertainment, Lucasfilm Animation, Ubisoft, Disney, Weta Digital, Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), LightBox Studios, and Framestore. Some alumni UA have launched their own studios or freelance businesses.
8. Escola de Cinema de Barcelona – ECIB (9Zeros Training Program), Barcelona, Spain
Escola de Cinema de Barcelona – ECIB (9Zeros Training Program) is the only school in the Catalonia Region that offers training in all aspects of film. For animators, ECIB/9Zeroes has degree programs, courses, and workshops in Animation, VFX Animation, 3D Character Animation, 3D Animation Generalist, Animation and 2D Realization, Animation and Stop Motion Production, and Concept Art and Character Design. Programs lead to a Diploma or Master’s Degree.
The Animation Program is the most popular option for students seeking an undergraduate degree. Covering the three branches of Animation (2D, 3D and Stop-Motion Animation) this three-year option is the only program in the Catalonia Region that provides training in all three branches.
Across programs, ECIB/9Zeros graduates have secured positions at major studios such as Pixar, Double Negative, Aardman Animations, Lightbox Animation Studios, and Weta Digital. ECIB/9Zeros alumni have worked on productions such as The Hunger Games, Cars 3, X-Men: Apocalypse, Brave, The Jungle Book, Inside Out, The Chronicles of Narnia, Justice League, and The Hunger Games.
9. La Poudrière, Valence, Drome, France
La Poudrière (Film School) trains students in Animated Film Production. Students will explore writing and animating for film, trailers, and TV series, directing actors, sound, music, and editing. Programs at La Poudrière take two years to complete and they prepare students for immediate employment in the animation industry or to produce their own independent short films.
Launched in 1999, La Poudrière has trained nearly 200 artists, with 119 certified since 2009 and 95% obtaining global certification in the last two years. The programs at La Poudrière culminate with a one or several completed projects.
Upon completion of any program at La Poudrière, graduates will gain access to networking opportunities, direct connections to producers, and critiques by composers and co-authors; exclusive access to professional events such as Cartoon Forum, Cartoon Movie, and Cartoon Springboard; and support with short film projects through Ciclic, (the cultural agency of the Centre-Val-de-Loire Region), the European Conservatory of Audiovisual Writing, and the SACD and the CEEA.
10. Lightbox Academy, Madrid, Spain
Lightbox Academy School of Digital Arts (Lightbox Academy) is located in the heart of Madrid. The school features state-of-the art classrooms and facilities, small class sizes, practice and meeting rooms, studios that function the same as a professional industry studio, personalized attention, and access to job and internship exchange, which consists of more than 250 companies and institutions.
Lightbox Academy provides programs in 3D, Animation, Motion Graphics, Illustration, VFX, Graphic Design, Web Design and Videogames. All programs begin with the basics and gradually progress to the professional level. Students will work in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment where they can learn from each other and about multiple areas within the design, film, and entertainment. industries.
Specific program options for students interested in a career in animation include Double Master’s Degrees in 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, and Concept Illustration. An undergraduate Animation Production Program is available as well as an Online High Specialization Program for students interested in learning about the animation pipeline, animation project development and production, and rigging, lighting, set design, and props modeling.